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Archive for July 16th, 2008

Taleban set up ‘Pakistan courts’

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Taleban militants in Pakistan’s north-western Mohmand tribal area have set up permanent Islamic courts. The districts have been divided into four judicial zones, each having two judges and a permanent court address.

The Taleban have up until now used mobile courts – with no permanent offices or judges – to settle criminal and financial disputes. They say the permanent courts show the diminishing authority of the central and local governments…

All this is embarrassing for the Pakistani government, especially because the Taleban have in the past carried out cruel punishments against people accused of moral turpitude, crime or spying.

Earlier this month, two Afghan nationals accused of spying for the US were publicly killed on the orders of a Taleban court in Bajaur.

Last month, a court in Orakzai ordered the public killing of half a dozen alleged bandits.

And in March, the Taleban killed a couple after they were allegedly found guilty of adultery by a court in Mohmand.

If the leading ally in the Worldwide War on Terror has little to say about the administration of justice, law and order within their own borders, how much use is their assistance throughout the region?

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Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Culture, Politics

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Irish will not be bullied over ‘second vote’

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NSFW – Click image for the opinion of some Irish rugby players

Irish ministers have reacted robustly to the French president’s remark that the Republic of Ireland should hold a new referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. European Affairs Minister Dick Roche said “it is far, far too early to be talking about a referendum or about some specific policy to go forward”.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said Ireland would not be bullied

Mr Sarkozy will visit Dublin on Monday, seeking a way ahead after Irish voters rejected the EU treaty on 12 June…

Mr Sarkozy was quoted as saying “the Irish will have to vote again”. He was speaking to deputies from his conservative UMP party in Paris on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Martin said Mr Sarkozy would be “in listening mode” during his visit to Dublin.

“We’re not entertaining any prospect or any bullying from anybody,” he said. “We’ll be looking at it from an Irish perspective and what’s in the best interests of Ireland.”

Reacting “robustly” sounds more like Sarkozy “can stick his 2nd vote where the sun don’t shine!”

And, uh, thanks to Irish Rugby fans for the poster.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Culture, Politics

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Tour de France hit by new doping scandal

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The Tour de France has been hit by a fresh doping scandal with Spanish rider Moises Duenas Nevado testing positive for the blood booster EPO, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Duenas, who rides for the Barloworld team, has been detained by French police in the south-western town of Tarbes.

I’m shocked,” Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti said in a statement.

“The one thing I will say is that the team is not involved in this story at all and we’ll take severe action against anyone who damages our credibility and the image of our team.”

Unfortunately, I’m not shocked.

I first attended the Tour de France in 1971. Doping was “accepted” back then. And among pros and amateurs alike, I doubt if there’s been much of a decline. It’s still a game to beat the testers.

Now – even though I spent a quarter-century associated with the sport, I won’t watch the Tour de France. Convince me it’s really been cleaned up and I’ll think about supporting the sport, once again.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Culture, Sport

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Database failure the excuse for U.S. airstrike in Pakistan

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The precise location of a Pakistani border post that was destroyed by U.S. airstrikes last month, killing 11 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers, was not in a U.S. database used to prevent accidental attacks on friendly forces, an investigation into the episode has concluded.

Had the coordinates of the remote outpost been logged into the database, it would have immediately raised a red flag when allied troops called in airstrikes after being fired on during a clash with insurgents on the Afghan border, said U.S. officials.

But the monthlong investigation by U.S., Afghan and Pakistani officials into the episode, which occurred June 10, assigned no blame.

After the June 10 incident, each of the three countries involved conducted its own inquiry into what happened. They then tried, largely unsuccessfully, to reconcile their results.

The geeks patrolling the world for Bush, God and country, the Worldwide War on Terror and all the other capitalized crap slogans will just sit back and mumble GIGO – garbage in = garbage out.

Tell that to the families of those 11 Pakistani soldiers.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Geek, Politics

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More U.S. agents on Mexico border. More people to bribe.

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You don’t need no stinking standards!

U.S. Border Patrol agent Reynaldo Zuniga was arrested last month lugging a bag of cocaine up from the Rio Grande, one of a growing number of law enforcement officers accused of taking bribes from drug gangs…

The increasing use of bribes by Mexican drug cartels to corrupt U.S. agents comes as Washington is sending $400 million to help Mexico’s army-led war on the trafficking gangs, whose brutal murders have surged to unprecedented levels…

Data on agents convicted of graft are not made public, but the U.S. government is probing hundreds of border corruption cases where a decade ago it saw a few dozen a year. The FBI-led Border Corruption Task Force says it is busier than ever…
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 10:00 am

Posted in Culture, Politics

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T. Boone Pickens for President – or something

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Don’t know if this commercial is showing up on TV around the whole country or not. Here in the Southwest, we seem to get it just about every day. It feels like it should end with Pickens saying, “I’m T. Boone Pickens and I approved this message.”.

Pickens is building the largest wind turbine project in the country over in the Texas Panhandle. There are a number of interesting and serious profit-making aspects of the project. Mostly long-range and all seem to be an advancement over his decades of making money from drilling for oil.

I’ve blogged previously about the project as has Craig Rubens. A Texas land and oil baron this size is always scary; but, he’s also done a pretty good job of making money for people – in addition to himself.

His significant core plan for sorting out transportation is switching away from oil derivatives to natural gas. Something we have a lot of as a natural resource. Take a look at his project’s website – www.pickensplan.com – and see what you think?

I live just outside a small city where the public transit essentials have been propelled by natural gas for years. Santa Fe was one of the first. It works well, burns clean and wasn’t a big deal to put the infrastructure in place. Nowadays, many government and private vehicles have switched over and it works just fine – locally. You ain’t taking a cross-country trip on CNG, yet; but, someday – you just might.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 8:00 am

Apple drops both shoes on Mac clone maker – for copyright and trademark violations

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Apple’s list of grievances against Mac clone maker Psystar spans 16 pages, but, in the end, its argument boils down to the one expected. Psystar, Apple says, had no right to do what it did, and should be stopped and forced to pay.

In its lawsuit, a copy of which was seen by CNET News courtesy of our colleagues at ZDNet, Apple alleges copyright infringement, inducement of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, as well as a couple of other legal claims. It seeks any profits earned by Psystar from its Open Computer, triple damages for willful acts, a permanent injunction against the sale of the product, as well as recall of those units already sold.

John Ferrell, chairman of the intellectual property practice at Carr & Ferrell added that One Infinite Loop, the road that stretches through Apple’s headquarters, “is littered with the wrecked business plans of companies that have tried to copy and sell Apple look-alikes.”

Lots of lawyerly quoting in the article. No one thinks Psystar has a snowball’s chance.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 6:00 am

Judge lets off teenage hacker despite admission of guilt

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Uh, Owen is the one without a uniform…

A teenager from New Zealand who was accused of stealing millions of pounds has been let off without a conviction, despite pleading guilty to hacking into computers around the world.

18-year-old Owen Thor Walker, known online as “AKILL”, was ordered to pay just £5,500 in costs and damages after a high court hearing in Hamilton, New Zealand, and could even end up working with local police to help them understand online crime.

Walker was arrested in November last year after an investigation involving the New Zealand police, FBI, US Secret Service and Dutch police, and was initially accused of leading a computer hacking ring that had stolen more than £12m from victims around the world.

After a high court hearing, however, police said Walker was in fact employed by the group to write software which they then used to access people’s bank accounts. According to police, Walker did not directly take money from people’s bank accounts, but the software he wrote was used by other criminals…

Original reports of the bust did make it sound like a boy genius and master criminal. His youth impressed the journalists, no doubt.

Good to see his botnet down and some of his accomplices heading for the slammer.

Written by Ed Campbell

July 16, 2008 at 12:30 am

Posted in Geek, Technology

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